Hillcrest PTA again finances teacher's summer reading plan


With financial support from her school's PTA, Hillcrest Elementary teacher Monica Hiley is trying to ensure that her reading students don't lose during the summer vacation what they have learned in class over the past nine months.

For a second year, the PTA is covering the expenses of Hiley's summer reading program called Camp Step Ahead at the Catonsville school. About 20 students in grades two through five attend four days of classes a week for four weeks. All are in special education, or in remedial classes for severe reading disabilities.

"The program was important for preserving advances made by students during the school year," Hiley said. "Many would have lost important reading skills that they need to have. Although this happens to all children, it is a major setback particularly to the special ed kids."

Laurie Bezold, PTA president when Camp Step Ahead first received funding, said, "We decided to help fund the project because that's really what a PTA group is all about. Our job is to help enhance the curriculum for the students however we can."

Funding has run $1,000 each year, said Bezold, whose term ended this spring.

The program functions as a continuation of the regular school year, although the classroom setting is more relaxed. The children are split into two age groups, which meet at different times.

Hiley said she uses phonetic and multisensory approaches in working with the students. Participants' parents felt the camp was successful in last year's trial run, she said.

"The kids really latched onto the various components of the program and learned a lot," Hiley said. "It worked here, and I'm just glad to be able to do it."

Pub Date: 6/21/98

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